Martial arts, slashers, con women and dead musicians: movies viewed

THE HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS (2004) was one of those lush martial arts fantasies that got US release in the wake of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Ddragon. Here the protagonists are a blind freedom fighter allied to the title revolutionaries and the government agent infiltrating the Daggers by playing her heroic rescuer, both of whom soon develop stronger feelings than is safe. This is more a tragic romance than the spectacular action movie I remembered, but the action is quite spectacular, such as the fight in the bamboo forest mid film. Well worth rewatching.“You will be more convincing with a dagger in your back.”

As I mentioned yesterday, I caught FRIDAY THE 13th (1980) on a big-screen TV during an outing with TYG. A very young Kevin Bacon is among the camp counselors who learn the legend of Jason, the boy who haunted the woods since his death. Only it’s not a legend and they’re all going to die brutally, aaagh! Can’t say it compares to Halloween or Nightmare on Elm Street.

I wasn’t much impressed by OCEAN’S 8 (2018) either. This spinoff stars Sandra Bullock as The Sister We Didn’t Know Danny Ocean Had (“Are all your family crooks?”), recruiting a team including longtime bud Cate Blanchett, hacker Rihanna, gem cutter Mindy Kaling and fashion designer Helena Bonham Carter to steal a priceless necklace from around the neck of Anne Hathaway and nail the squealer who sent Bullock up the river. Despite the strong cast, this is too generic, lacking either the twists or the character bits to make it click (though I liked it more than Ocean’s 13) — but I suppose at this point it’s like complaining about a Fast and Furious film being formulaic. “Somewhere out there, an eight year old girl is lying in bed, dreaming of becoming a criminal. This is for her.”

COCO (2017) is the charming Pixar story of a Mexican boy determined to follow in the footsteps of a legendary musician despite his family’s opposition. When he stumbles into the netherworld on the Dios de la Muertos, he learns not only the importance of the festival, his departed relatives give him some unexpected revelations about family history. Very good, and I like some of the little touches (Santos and Frida Kahlo among the celebrities of the afterlife). “A minute ago I thought my great-grandfather was a murderer. This is an upgrade!”

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1 Comment

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One response to “Martial arts, slashers, con women and dead musicians: movies viewed

  1. Pingback: Screwball comedies and death: movies viewed | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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